Follow-up survey heaps doubt upon doubt on last month’s press release
Cyclists say “survey data should not be wilfully misused by any charity”
There were hundreds of responses, and I’m pleased to say that I feel the data I can now present to you is probably not significantly less valid than the IAM ‘research’, although it shares many of the same caveats. Anyone who’d like to discuss the specifics of what I’ve done is welcome to get in touch.
The following indicative findings may make for interesting reading:
Pleasingly, this sample is largely made up of regular, experienced cyclists, with a massive 94% cycling every day, or at least more often than not. Just 1% of the sample were “not a cyclist”.
Do they jump red lights?
Since this was the focus of the IAM’s spin, let’s address this right up front. 97% of cyclists do not frequently run red lights!
This survey completely failed to support the conclusions of the IAM survey.
The real issues for vulnerable road users
A large proportion of the survey was focused on asking what vulnerable road users feel endangers them on Britain’s roads.
The following proportion of the sample felt that the below activities posed a danger to them as vulnerable road users:
- 98% – speeding motorists
- 98% – motorists using laptops or mobile phones
- 98% – motorists ignoring bus/bike lanes, ASLs or parking/waiting restrictions
- 97% – motorists jumping red or amber lights
Hopefully this sends a clear message to the IAM (and other interested parties) that negligent, reckless and dangerous behaviour by motorists must be addressed as a priority before fiddling around with diversions like cyclists jumping lights.
To reinforce this, the survey also asked what cyclists found to be the most significant issues to their safety. The proportions significantly impacted were as follows:
- 89% – aggressive / wilfully dangerous driving
- 88% – driving while using a mobile phone
- 88% – drivers partly overtaking and immediately turning left
- 85% – drivers travelling at excessive speed
- 83% – drivers failing to observe lane markings, parking restrictions and ASLs
- 80% – oncoming drivers turning right
- 77% – HGV drivers: stopping so close to ASLs that the cyclists occupying them are no longer visible through the windscreen
- 74% – HGV drivers: fitting blind spot mirrors and checking their nearside is clear before turning left
In contrast, approximately 3/4 of cyclists feel red light jumping by other cyclists is a non-issue, while around 4/5 feel that pavement cycling is a non-issue.
It’s hard to interpret results like these as a call for anything other than robust action on negligent, reckless and dangerous behaviour by motorists – and quite difficult to justify focusing attention on fringe issues like red light jumping.
How do cyclists rate the performance of the IAM?
Following the widespread condemnation of the IAM last month, the survey also asked the following two questions:
Do you believe road safety groups such as the IAM have a strict responsibility not to distort or misrepresent their website polls to the media?
Do you believe road safety groups such as the IAM have a strict responsibility not to incite hatred against vulnerable road users by ‘spinning’ discredited or unreliable survey data?
94% of respondents said that survey data “should not be wilfully misused by any charity”, and 93% said that “vulnerable road users need to be protected, not victimised”.
If representative of the nation’s cyclists as a whole, this would be a brutal slap to the face of certain individuals and their organisation.
We can at least hope that the future will be brighter, providing that so-called safety groups wake up to what these cyclists identify as the real issues on our streets.
I’d encourage anyone with a real interest in the results to commission a professional survey from a company who know how to ask the questions that get the answers you desire in the most defensible way possible.
This survey is not that. Despite having a large number of respondents it suffers from many of the same issues as the IAM poll (plus probably a few more), results are indicative only, and so on and so forth.